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Aug. 13, 2018

#010 Graculus Sculptures with Michael Kusz (and Joe the Crow)

#010 Graculus Sculptures with Michael Kusz (and Joe the Crow)

Welcome to the Inside Yorkshire Podcast, a podcast full of stories and tales from the people of Yorkshire. On today’s episode, Susan explores the whimsical world of Graculus Sculptures inside artist Michael Kuszs studio. Together they discuss some of his most well-known creations, what inspires him as an artist, and how he ended up with a very chatty “apprentice” named Joe the Crow.

Key Takeaways:

  • Michael is the artist behind Graculus Sculptures and works on massive sculptures made of recycled scrap copper and other materials.
    • As a child, Michael was fascinated with two things: taking things apart to learn how they work and watching rooks from a nearby rookery fly through the air.
    • He taught himself how to weld and work with metal over the course of 14 years working at the crash repair department of a garage.
    • He now makes rooks, bats, owls, dragons, spiders, and more.
  • Michael’s apprentice is a mischievous crow named Joe.
    • Joe was abandoned from his nest as a chick and rescued by a group of children who tried to raise him before Joe was handed off to Michael, who had nursed injured crows before.
    • He’s now had Joe for five years and he keeps Michael on his toes, occasionally engaging in mischief like stealing Michael’s glasses and hiding them in his nest.
  • Some of Michael’s sculptures are so massive and intricate that they can take weeks or even months to build.
    • Michael crafted a massive metal tree sculpture for the Richardsons Community Hospital in Barnard Castle that took him over a year to complete.
    • Due to the nature of copper and the other materials he works with, none of Michael’s sculptures are copies, every single one is unique.
    • Many of them also have fully articulated and adjustable heads and limbs.

Best Moments:

  • “I was absolutely fascinated with how things worked, and I really wanted to know how things were made.”
  • “It’s been a very interesting experience studying a corvid at very close quarters, and really what I’ve always seen in them is what you get. They are incredibly mischievous and do have a lot of fun.”
  • “I had to learn how to sell my work, and that was a very steep learning curve.”
  • “It’s almost as if I got my wish, that the rooks that I make that actually fund my being here, are my Graculus.”
  • “I’ve got rooks in Australia, New Zealand, quite a large piece in Singapore, spiders in Barbados, a bat in Moscow, and I recently sent a rook out to California.”


Valuable Resources:


About the Host:

Susan has been living in Yorkshire for over 30 years. She is passionate about the county she has adopted as her home and she never ceases to be amazed at the wealth of talent ‘Inside Yorkshire’ and the tales that people have to tell.

About the Guest:

Michael is based in the Yorkshire Dales where he creates unique sculptures from recycled materials, mainly copper. He grew up in industrial South Wales, with access to all sorts of old tools and materials, which helped nurture his creativity. His exploration of materials and processes then set solid foundations for his current work.

He identifies with rooks on a personal level, recapturing the essence of childhood. They are gregarious, mischievous and demonstrate a clear sense of freedom and fun, everything he wants his artworks to express. He is aided and abetted, and on occasions hindered, by his mischievous apprentice, “Joe the Crow”!


Contact Method:

Susan Baty-Symes


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